Just As I Am {hymns}

I’m writing today about one of my new favorite hymns. Although, if I continue this series, you’ll find that I have a lot of “favorite hymns.” I love so many of them.

This song is one that many people write off as being “just an altar call” song, or worse, the altar call song that seems to go on forever–there are a lot of verses! This song has always brought fond memories of going to church with my grandparents when I was a little girl.

I love the stories behind hymns and this one is so encouraging and inspiring.

More recently I’ve discovered a new side to it. See, most times I’ve heard this song or sang it in churches, it has been only the first 3 verses. I was listening to one of my Alan Jackson hymn CD’s recently and he sings verses 4 and 5. Wow! It had been so long since I heard those verses (if ever) and I now heard them in a new light. As a saved person, it occurred to me–this is a song of invitation for the lost, but it’s also a song of PRAISE and comfort for the saved.

I was moved to tears as I heard those 2 verses:

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing of the mind, Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe, -O Lamb of God, I come!

That’s what the Lord has done for me! I was poor, wretched and blind, and He gave me sight, healing of the mind, and riches of Heaven. Even in the midst of my sin, He received me, welcomed me, pardoned me, cleansed me, and relieved me of the burden of sin and a life without Him.

Praise the Lord!

Just as I Am Lyrics

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

The Story

As I looked up the story behind this hymn, I realized that viewing it as both a hymn of invitation and praise is in line with the author’s thoughts.

The words to this song were written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. She was embittered by difficult health problems, described as an invalid in many accounts. As the story goes, she had a house guest Dr. Cesar Malan who broached the topic of personal salvation with her, asking her if the Lord was her personal savior. She was an angry and bitter woman. She railed against God, and was offended that Dr. Malan would bring up such a topic.

But his question had been used by God to plant a seed in her mind, and as she continued to think about it, she later asked Dr. Malan how she could be saved–she knew she wasn’t fit to come to him. Dr Malan said, “Come just as you are.”

God saved Charlotte Elliot, and she went on to write about her experience, “Just as I am.”

As I was researching, I came across another story that tells more details about the writing of the song.

One night Charlotte Elliot found herself questioning her own usefulness and purpose, and in this she also began to doubt her spiritual life. The next day, those thoughts resurfaced until she knew they could only be conquered by the grace of God. And, so she thought upon the Lord and began to focus on the certainties of her salvation–the Lord, His power, and His promise.

Through her writing, she restated to herself the gospel of pardon, peace, and Heaven. She was comforted by the knowledge that she was accepted, “just as I am,”–not for some moment in the past, but for eternity. She clung to John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

And the woman who thought herself useless penned words that would live on and be used by God to inspire so many people.

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